Re: Berber/Tifinagh (was: Swahili & Banthu)

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Mon Nov 10 2003 - 19:30:09 EST

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    From: "Patrick Andries" <>
    > ----- Message d'origine -----
    > De: "Don Osborn" <>
    > > I've thought for instance about the small number of schools here in
    > > that teach in Tamajak, using the Latin based script and how easy it will
    > or
    > > will not be for the students to make the connections with the Tifinagh
    > that
    > > is traditionally used. It would be tidy to have one-to-one
    > correspondences,
    > > but even if not, some fairly consistent rules would help. I'm not sure
    > the
    > > extent to which people working on Tamajak in Latin orthography
    > > from the spoken language) make reference to traditions of spelling with
    > > Tifinagh, but it would seem essential.
    > The Touareg (like the new Volkswagen) traditionnal usage of Tifinagh is
    > defective if recall properly Hanoteau (in its Tamachek' Grammar this from
    > memory, not being at home) : geminates not noted, short vowels usually not
    > written, etc. I'm not too sure how you can pass from traditional Touareg
    > Tifinagh to the Latin-based script.

    Simple: do not add in the Latin script letters that are not coded in the
    Touareg orthograph.
    Even if it creates "strange" words like "TGRZMBL" (invented word used only
    for demonstration) with no vowels and no gemination dots. This will respect
    the initial orthograph in which readers were supposed to insert them
    mentually (in fact Hebrew readers are quite used to this mental gymnastic
    when short vowel points or other diacritics are not noted in the printed

    I don't see this as an obstacle: if someone finally writes "TIG.RAZ.EMBLA"
    in Latin with added vowels and gemination (dots noted here), the text can be
    still converted back safely to the Touareg convention of not noting vowels
    and gemination. This case only will require a transliteration rule, but not
    the reverse. But here also, one can keep the vowels and gemination in the
    transliteration, which becomes now a simply cipher with one to one mapping:
    readers will see added diacritics in the Touareg text, but they will be
    still able to read it as long as the "essential" letters are kept in the
    written form: Hebrew readers also do this: they ignore dots and cantillation
    marks they don't understand or use consistently, and recognize the text by
    its base letters.

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